in the Mix

4/18/2012, 8:53 a.m.

Jaden’s Ladder “Bright Lights, Big City” Black and White Gala, Saturday, April 14, 2012, Ritz-Carlton Hotel (L-R): Patrick Chung, New England Patriots safety; Oneta Bobbett, co-founder of Jaden’s Ladder; Chung’s fiancée, Cecelia Champion; and Coach Willie Maye, national radio and television personality.
Esperanza Spalding. (Photo courtesy of Montuno)   Season 2 American Idol winner Ruben Studdard (R) with guest, Marina Feliciano (L), at the gala. (Colette Greenstein photo)

Jaden’s Ladder,

A worthy cause

Celebrity guests, friends, volunteers and longtime supporters of Jaden’s Ladder — a nonprofit organization that assists survivors of domestic violence — came together to raise money for their fourth annual “Bright Lights, Big City Gala” at the Ritz-Carlton Boston.

It was a fabulous night filled with music by DJ Roy Barboza, celebrity guests, dancing, and auctions, both silent and live.

The night began with a VIP champagne reception featuring a live performance of aerial acrobatics from Nimble Arts, coupled with a warm and heartfelt greeting by Oneta Bobbett, the driving force behind Jaden’s Ladder — named after her son, Jaden. Bobbett, a domestic violence survivor, kept the focus of the gala on raising money for “her girls.”

Kicking off the main event was Ruben Studdard. He sang a few Luther songs, he explained, “cause it always makes my mama happy.”

The master of ceremonies was Coach Willie Maye. Supporting the work of Jaden’s Ladder were numerous guests including Boston Celtics legend JoJo White and his lovely wife, Deb; New England Patriot Patrick Chung; former Cleveland Cavalier and Golden State Warrior Dwight Davis; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas; NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk; Patriots Hall of Famer Steve Grogan; former Chicago Bulls player Charles Oakley; and former Boston Celtic Satch Sanders.  

The highlight of the evening was the announcement by Bobbett. She told the crowd that due to their support, a home would be purchased for a Jaden’s Ladder family.

“A Streetcar Named Desire”

“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” is Blanche DuBois’ signature line. She utters it to the doctor who is leading her away in the play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” DuBois is played by Nicole Ari Parker, best known for her role as ‘Teri Joseph’ in the TV series “Soul Food.”

Playing Stanley to her Blanche is the terrific and multi-talented Blair Underwood, who truly transformed himself.

This was my first time seeing a Broadway production in Manhattan and I was ecstatic. Though it was intense and emotional, I really enjoyed it.  I laughed, cried and felt their pain.  

Tennessee Williams wrote this play 65 years ago and it is still timely. The performance was enhanced by the searing and haunting music composed by the extraordinary Terence Blanchard.